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Duterte Calls for Emergency Meeting with Metro Manila Mayors Amid COVID-19 Spread

It is a very urgent meeting concerning NCR's COVID-19 response.
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President Rodrigo Duterte has called for an emergency meeting in Malacañang with all the mayors of Metro Manila amid news of local transmission of COVID-19 in the region.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced late afternoon on March 9 that the Philippines now has 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

On March 7, the Department of Health confirmed fears there is local transmission of the virus in the country. Of the first 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, at least seven were patients in Metro Manila. 

Mayor Joy Belmonte  of Quezon City posted on social media about the emergency meeting.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has called for a meeting with Metro Manila mayors at 4 p.m at Malacañang. The MMDA, for its part, has summoned disaster and health officials for a meeting at 2 p.m.

“The Quezon City Task Force on COVID-19 will then meet after these meetings and will issue a statement after all information has been consolidated,” write Belmonte.

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COVID-19 Cases in the Philippines Rises to 20

“DOH reported 10 more coronavirus cases on top of four new cases announced yesterday. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 20,” DOH Assistant Sec. Ma. Rosario Vergeire announced in a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

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Vergeire attributed the sudden increase in the confirmed cases to the DOH’s more aggressive surveillance on suspected cases in the country.

In a press briefing held earlier today, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said most confirmed cases  of COVID-19 around the world are mild cases.

“As much as 80 percent of conformed cases of COVID-19 are mild,” said the health secretary.

Metro Manila Lockdown Considered

Most of the first 10 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 involved patients in Metro Manila, which is why Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda suggested all entry and exit points in Metro Manila such as the NLEX and SLEX should be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines. Salceda also suggested cancelling domestic flights and railway operations to and from Metro Manila, according to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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“Moving from one localized transmission to sustained community transmission can happen very quickly, so both fall under the Code Red,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque in a press briefing on the morning of March 9.

170 Contacts of COVID-19 Case Under Observation in Pangasinan

Meanwhile, an additional 170 people are now persons under investigation (PUIs) for possible infection of COVID-19. They came in contact with a Filipino-Australian woman who tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by ABS-CBN.

The Filipino-Australian woman spent one day in Pangasinan to attend a class reunion in Dagupan where she mingled with dozens of people. The 170 people who came in contact with her underwent a 14-day quarantine and did not show symptoms of the disease.

 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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